The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 2/6

The second challenge (another example of defamation) to the history that flows through The Concubine Saga came from the Reader’s Cafe in a June 2012 review written by Tilly. This book review site has no search-engine traffic rank according to Alexa.com (at the time I checked) and has only 10 members but according to its Blog Archive it was launched in 2006.

Is this an indication of the popularity of reviews written on this site?

Anyway, Tilly proclaimed for all the world to read as long as the Reader’s Cafe remains an active domain that:

1. The time it took for Robert Hart to sail from  England to China was unrealistic.

2. Tilly claimed that Robert Hart could not have been raised to respect women as equals in Victorian England.

3. Robert Hart could not have believed that paying 33 pounds for a concubine was cheap.

4. Tilly called Ayaou, Hart’s concubine, a harlot.

5. Eunuchs were not castrated before they were hired to work in the Forbidden City.

6. Tilly claims there was no such thing as the Santai Dynasty

7. According to Tilly, there was no way that Robert Hart could not have known about the Taiping Rebellion in detail before he learns about it in the novel.

In reply to number one, I never mentioned how long it took Robert Hart to sail from England to China. The original first edition of The Concubine Saga opens as Hart arrived in Hong Kong after a long voyage from England.  Hart’s next voyage takes place a few days later from Hong Kong to Shanghai and I assure you that I followed the time span it took to make that voyage from Robert Hart’s own journal that covers his first year in China. He goes into detail about that trip even mentioning the pirates that chased the ship he was on.

The Concubine Saga (a revised and edited version of My Splendid Concubine combined with the sequel Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine) says in the third paragraph on page 3, “A month earlier, his ship had reached Hong Kong on July 25…”

Maybe I should have said, “his ship from England”.  You see, Robert Hart first arrived in Hong, where he stayed for a few days before sailing to Shanghai where he stayed with the Lay brothers before sailing to Ningpo about 100 miles south of Shanghai.

It’s all in Hart’s journals—every step of his journey after he arrived in China. In fact, Hart’s journal does not mention how long it took him to sail from England to Hong Kong other then he was seasick most of the voyage. However, he goes into detail about the voyage from Hong Kong to Shanghai.

Tilly’s next example of defamation was to claim that Robert Hart was not raised to respect women as equals. To make this error meant she probably didn’t read the novel carefully or has attention deficit disorder or short term memory issues.

Continued July 10, 2012 in The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 1/6

I have been accused of a crime—the crime of historical inaccuracy in my novel, The Concubine Saga. I was tried and convicted without a trial by Tilly, a reviewer at The Readers Cafe.

However, the facts say otherwise and in a trial with a jury of my peers, I’m convinced that I would have been found innocent on all counts, as I shall prove in this series of post.

There is a conundrum to this issue—reviewers and many readers feel that an author has no right to respond to criticism of his or her work  even when a review boldly makes accusations and false claims, but I do not agree.  If an author believes he or she has been defamed, then it is the duty of the author to speak out in his or her own defense unless a loyal fan does it first.

Today, the Internet makes it possible for anyone to write a book review. In fact, it seems that the Internet is becoming the only go-to-place of research for couch potatoes.  However, I doubt that every word written in every book in the world may be found through a  Google search.

Furthermore, this isn’t the first time the historical accuracy of “The Concubine Saga” had been challenged. The first example of defamation came from China in 2008.

If you are unsure what defamation means, here is the definition: to attack the good name or reputation of, as by uttering or publishing maliciously or falsely anything injurious; slander or libel; calumniate: The newspaper editorial defamed the politician.

In 2008, a book review of My Splendid Concubine (the first half of The Concubine Saga) appeared online for Beijing Today, an English language newspaper produced by the Communist Youth League of China, and the reviewer claimed the historical accuracy of the novel was questionable because the opening chapter mentioned there were clocks in the Forbidden City.

The Beijing Today reviewer claimed that the Qing Dynasty was too conservative to have clocks.

However, in our extensive personal research library of  China sitting on shelves in our home there is a book that mentions the Qianlong Emperor’s collection of clocks (the book also had photos of a few of the clocks).

I sent an e-mail to Beijing Today with the ISBN number including pull quotes with page numbers from that book proving that there were hundreds if not thousands of clocks in the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace during most of the Qing Dynasty.

I never heard back from Beijing Today, and I shrugged it off. After all, how many people in the rest of the world outside China will ever read that negative review of my work in a Chinese Communist English language newspaper with a circulation of 50,000?  In fact, when I went on-line recently and used Google in an attempt to find that review, it did not appear in any search results.

The Qianlong Emperor was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China. He ruled China from 1735 to1796, and he wasn’t alone in his love of clocks.

“The Kangzi (ruled China 1661 to 1722) and Qianlong emperors of the Qing Dynasty were fascinated by European clocks, which were often presented as tribute gifts by envoys.”  Source: The Emperor Looks West, Peabody Essex Museum

I have visited the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace in Beijing more than once since 1999 and with my own eyes, I saw a few clocks on display that belonged to Qing Dynasty emperors—not many since most of the Imperial treasures and China’s treasury were looted by the Nationalists as Chiang Kai-shek fled China for Taiwan in 1949 after losing the Civil War.

Continued on July 9, 2012 in The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

When a Girl becomes a Woman depends on the Law at the Time

An honest 21st century review of The Concubine Saga at ColReads.com brought up a good subject for a post—the history of the changing attitudes of when a girl becomes a woman (You may want to click on the link to ColReads and read the entire review).

ColReads said, “The girls were younger than 15, for goodness sake. I had a hard time getting past that,” which is understandable when we take into account that in 21st century America the law makes a girl/woman a child until age 14, 15, 16, 17 or 18 depending on which U.S. state you live in (watch the video to find out the age of consent in each state).

However, the age of consent laws in the middle of the 19th century (the time period of The Concubine Saga, which is based on a real story) were not the same as they are today.

To understand the difference between now and then, today in the People’s Republic of China the age of consent for sexual activity is 14, regardless of gender and/or sexual orientation. In Hong Kong, it is 16 and in Macau 18.

However, “Depictions of ‘child-romance’ in ancient or modern Chinese literature are not difficult to find. They include passages on joyous heterosexual or homosexual activities by children as young as 12 to13 years old with one another or with adults. Children are usually described as natural sexual beings and erotic stimulation and sex-play are seen as beneficial to their healthy development (Chen 2000).” In fact, “For most of Chinese history, the minimum marriage age suggested by the government had ranged between 12 and 16.” Source: Department of Psychiatry, University of Hong Kong

For a comparison, in 1875 in the UK, a concern that young girls were being sold into brothels let Parliament change the age of consent to 13. Prior to that, the age of consent was 12.

However, in the United States in 1875, each state determined its own criminal law and the age of consent ranged from 10 to 12 years of age. It would not be until after the 1930s that the term “jail bait” came into use in America as the age of consent laws changed. (I wonder if the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving the right to vote to women had anything to do with these changes.)

I could have sanitized The Concubine Saga and made both Ayaou and her sister Shao-mei much older to fit the attitudes of today’s readers but then that would have been historically incorrect. Sterling Seagrave in his book Dragon Lady, the Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China, wrote, “He (Robert Hart) had just turned twenty. Ayaou was barely past puberty but was wise beyond her years.”

If Ayaou was barely 14, then there was only a six-year age gap between the two, while Hart’s arranged marriage to a young Irish woman named Hester Jane Bredon a decade later sees the gap double to twelve years when he was thirty and she was eighteen. In fact, Seagrave says, “He (Hart) sought a wife as straightforwardly as he had bought a concubine.” After returning to Ireland for a brief stay in 1866, Robert proposed marriage to Hester five days after he met her. The courtship lasted three months before they were married.

Should authors ignore historical fact and rewrite history to reflect the moral sensitivities of today’s readers?

For more on this topic, discover Modern-Day Witch Hunts and Vigilantes – the politically-correct mob’s (sex) war against teachers

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

“The Concubine Saga” Web Tour Schedule – June 2012

So Many Precious Books  May 30 Review & Giveaway

Broken Teepee  June 1 Review & Giveaway

My Little Pocketbooks  June 30 Review

My Little Pocketbooks  June 4 Interview & Giveaway

Bookish Dame             June 6 Review

Bookish Dame G & GP June 6  Guest Post & Giveaway

J.A. Beard  June 8 Interview

My Devotional Thoughts  June 8           Review

My Devotional Thoughts  June 9 Guest Post & Giveaway

Book Dilettante                  June 11  Review

Book Dilettante  June 12 Guest Post

Joy Story  June 12  Review

Books, Books, & More Books  June 13           Review & Giveaway

Live to Read  June 14 Review

Peeking Between the Pages  June 14 Guest Post & Giveaway

Col Reads  June 15 Review

Celtic Lady’s Reviews  June 18 Review

Ink Spots & Roses  June 18 Guest Post & Giveaway

The Readers Cafe  June 19  Review

Knitting and Sundries  June 20 Review & Giveaway

Sweeps 4 Bloggers  June 21 Review & Giveaway

The Reading Life  June 22 Review

The Reading Life  June 21 Interview

Historical Fiction Connection  June 22  Guest Post

Layered Pages              June 25            Review

Layered Pages  June 26 Interview
Historical Tapestry   June 25 Guest Post

Peaceful Wishing  June 26  Review

To Read or Not to Read  June 27 Review

To Read or Not to Read  June 28 Guest Post & Giveaway

M Denise C.  June 28 Review

Succotash Reviews  June 29 Review & Giveaway
Moonlight Gleam   June 29 Guest Post & Giveaway

Jayne’s Books  June 29            Review & Giveaway

          ___________________________________

PRESS RELEASE
FOR RELEASE before June 1, 2012
CONTACT:
Lloyd Lofthouse, author
lflwriter@gmail.com

 IN THE 19th and EARLY 20th CENTURY, ROBERT HART WAS CRUCIAL TO THE SURVIVAL OF CHINA!

WALNUT CREEK, CA (3/2/12) — Robert Hart (1835 – 1911) was the ‘Godfather of China’s modernism’ and the only foreigner the emperor of China trusted. In fact, Hart played a crucial role in ending the bloodiest rebellion in history, and he owed this success largely to his live in dictionary and encyclopedia, his Chinese concubine Ayaou. In Dragon Lady, Sterling Seagrave wrote that Ayaou “was wise beyond her years”. In Entering China’s Service, Harvard scholars wrote, “Hart’s years of liaison with Ayaou gave him his fill of romance, including both its satisfaction and its limitations.”

With sales in the thousands, award-winning author Lloyd Lofthouse brings My Splendid Concubine (2007) and the sequel, Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine (2010) together in The Concubine Saga (2012).

My Splendid Concubine was the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

In the sequel, Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine, he was the only foreigner the Emperor of China trusted.

Soon after arriving in China in 1854, Robert Hart falls in love with Ayaou, but his feelings for her sister go against the teachings of his Christian upbringing and almost break him emotionally. To survive he must learn how to live and think like the Chinese and soon finds himself thrust into the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion, the bloodiest rebellion in human history, where he makes enemies of men such as the American soldier of fortune known as the Devil Soldier.

My Splendid Concubine earned honorable mentions in general fiction at the 2008 London Book Festival, and in 2009 at the Hollywood Book Festival and San Francisco Book Festival.

Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine earned honorable mentions in general fiction at the Los Angeles Book Festival, Nashville Book Festival, London Book Festival, DIY Book Festival and was a Finalist of the National Best Books 2010 Awards.

In addition, The Concubine Saga picked up an Honorable Mention in Fiction at the 2012 San Francisco Book Festival.

Lloyd Lofthouse served in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Marine and lives near San Francisco with his wife and family with a second home in Shanghai, China. As a former Marine, Lloyd earned a BA in Journalism and an MFA in writing. His Blog, iLook China.net, currently averages 600 views a day with more than 200,000 since its launch in January 2010. My Splendid Concubine.com, his Website, has had 72,000 visitors since December 2007. At Authors Den, his work has been viewed 336,000 times.

Virtual Author Book Tours.com arranged the June 2012 book tour of 27 book Blogs.

In addition, in 2008, following the launch of My Splendid Concubine, Lofthouse appeared as a China expert on more than 30 talk-radio shows from The Dr. Pat Show on KKNW 1150 AM in Seattle to The Smith and Riley Show on WFLF 540 AM in Orlando Florida.

The Concubine Saga
ISBN: 978-0-9819553-8-4

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”